California Department of Fish and Wildlife


On March 24,1989 the EXXON VALDEZ spilled approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska. Less than a year later on February 7, 1990 the AMERICAN TRADER spilled approximately 416,598 gallons of crude oil off Huntington Beach in Southern California. These events inspired the California Legislature to enact legislation in 1990 called the Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act. [Stats. 1990, ch. 1248 (S.B. 2040); see CA Government Code §8670.1 et seq., Public Resources Code §8750 et seq., and Revenue & Taxation Code §46001 et seq.] The Act covers all aspects of marine oil spill prevention and response in California. It established an Administrator who is given very broad powers to implement the provisions of the Act. The Act also gave the State Lands Commission certain authority over marine terminals. In 1991 the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) opened, headed by the Administrator.

The Act created an Administrator who is appointed by the Governor, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. Subject to the Governor, the Administrator has the primary authority in California to direct prevention, removal, abatement, response, containment, and cleanup efforts with regard to all aspects of any oil spill in marine waters of the state. The Governor, through the Administrator, must provide the best achievable protection of the coast and marine waters. The Administrator must also be a Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and as such the Administrator has been delegated the additional responsibilities of carrying out the statewide water pollution enforcement authority of the Department of Fish & Wildlife, which is derived from the CA Fish and Wildlife Code. (eg. see Fish & Wildlife Code §5650) The Administrator is required to appoint a Deputy Administrator and an Assistant Deputy Administrator to whom the Administrator may delegate all or some responsibilities. The Administrator shall appoint and discharge any officer, house staff counsel, or employee as determined to be necessary, to carry out the Administrator’s responsibilities. This mandate includes hiring personnel, either under direct employment, elsewhere in state government, or through contract for private or governmental services, who are fully trained and familiar with oil spill response, containment, and cleanup technologies, procedures, and operations, risk evaluation and management, and emergency systems safety.

Contact Information

Alexia Retallack
Phone: 916-322-1683

Web: Contact Web Editor

Page Last Updated: December 2, 2013